Let’s Cut Your Job Search Time in Half (Part One)

in half

Are you applying for the right jobs? Are you qualified for those jobs? Do you appear credible to the hiring professional who decides to bring you in for an interview? Or are you eliminating yourself in the first few seconds?

Especially in a tough market, many job seekers apply for every job they can find whether it’s a true match or not. If the job title includes Project Management, and they have been a project manager at any time in their career, then they apply. There is little, if any, consideration for the remaining job requirements, which may include industry experience, specific technology and demonstrated results.

Understandably, this kind of application is exasperating to hiring professionals! (Do not exasperate hiring professionals…it’s a bad career move!)

To help you determine whether or not you should apply for a job, or pass, read on:

Eight Questions You Should Ask About THE JOB

Here’s eight questions, each very important, I suggest you objectively ask yourself before applying to any position:

  • Overall, do I like the position and believe it is a good fit?
  • Does the job description for this position outline activities I enjoy and can do week-in and week-out? (I’m particularly fond of German-chocolate cake—but I can’t eat it on a daily basis.)
  • Do the activities that I enjoy comprise 75-80% of the job?
  • Do I have 90% of the required qualifications and 80% of the preferred qualifications?
  • Can I build a good case for the reader to consider me even with the missing “required” qualification?
  • Do I truly have the attributes listed (e.g. strong leadership skills, or business acumen).
  • Can I complete 75% to 80% of the activities in the job description without supervision?
  • Is there a good balance between my current competencies and personal growth?

If you answer “yes” to each of these questions, then go on to the next step… where the employer will go through the same kind of question set while deciding if you are a good match for the position!

Eight Questions You Should Ask About YOU

When looking at you current personal branding with a fresh (even cynical) set of eyes, how would a recruiter answer these questions about you (again, be completely objective and thorough on this, even if on the surface the question seems obvious)?

  • What kind of job does this applicant want? (Teacher, Marketing, Theatre Technician, Retail Operations, Medical Office Manager, Finance, Engineering…?)
  • In what kind of a setting will this applicant thrive? (Large corporation, non-profit, small business, manufacturing, academia?)
  • Does this applicant list specifics about how they work best? (Work-at-home (WAH) or virtual, small team, large division, lots of direction, minimal direction?)
  • What is most important to the companies that might hire this applicant? What makes them different than every other applicant? (Don’t be tempted to skip this step… the employer won’t!)
  • Does this applicant’s resume and cover letter both convey that they are right for this job at this company?
  • Does this applicant’s social media presence display a consistent image? Is that image consistent with the personal branding in their resume?
  • Is the LinkedIn profile of this applicant consistent with all other branding elements? Do they have relevant recommendations and endorsements?
  • Will this applicant fit in with our existing team? Do they understand our mission?

If you can’t answer “yes” to every one of these questions… don’t apply – yet. That doesn’t mean don’t apply at all; it just means you still have some work to do.

Tomorrow in Part Two of this post, we’ll take a look at how to build credibility with an employer – and prove you are the right person for that job – even before you apply. Stay tuned!


For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at Forward Motion Careers!


Forward Motion


Marcia LareauAbout the Author: Dr. Marcia LaReau has served in the business world for over ten years, including Fortune 100 companies. As a Curriculum Designer and Learning Technologist, she lead training initiatives for projects spanning 44,000 employees on four continents. As an HR Director, her use of unique, effective communication skills focused on learning processes to increase effectiveness and employee efficiency thereby reducing training budgets and maximizing training ROI.  



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